In 1973 the Six Million Dollar Man came into living rooms and captivated television audiences. In December of 2016 Calgary’s version of the Six Million Dollar Men re-appeared on Canadian television and the results have been fantastic. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan finally appear to be “right” and the Flames are reaping the benefits of them gaining traction on the ice.
It’s no secret that the Flames expected more out of their two multi million dollar stars this season. Both Gaudreau and Monahan inked lucrative contracts this off season and they didn’t live up to expectations and their new deals at the start of the 2016-17 season. Monahan was injured just before the WCOH and looked sluggish early on and had a very hard time putting the puck in the net. Gaudreau had a well publicized contract “dispute” with the Flames and missed all of training camp and struggled until he had his hands slashed to pieces by the Minnesota Wild on November 15th. Gaudreau sat for 2 1⁄2 weeks with a broken finger and Monahan looked out of sorts during that time as well. In the 17 games leading up to Gaudreau’s injury he had 11 points, 5 goals and 6 assists. Over that same stretch of games, Monahan had 6 points, 4 goals and 2 assists. That’s 17 points between two star players and the Flames were 6-10-1 and sinking fast.
Then something happened. The Flames started winning, mainly on the back of Chad Johnson’s out of this world goaltending, but Sean Monahan seemed to get comfortable.
On November 28th, Monahan scored the Flames only goal in their 2-1 (OT) loss to the Islanders and things started clicking. Since that OT loss, Monahan has had a point in each game (5 straight) and has taken over the team lead in goals. He’s moving better without the puck and his passing has become as crisp as it was in years past. Monahan now leads the team in goals (8) and is second on the team in points (16).
Johnny Gaudreau’s return to the lineup was nothing short of spectacular. He laced up the skates in Calgary’s 8-3 throttling of the Ducks and scored on his first shot during his first shift back. He also managed to grab an assist as well.
He’s only been back 3 games, but has 6 points in those 3 games and he’s assisted on a Monahan power play goal and Dougie Hamilton’s OT winner at Arizona. While the points are nice, it’s more the confidence in his game that is impressive. Maybe the contract and the “hold out” were weighing on his mind and sitting for a bit gave him a chance to look at things in a different light? Whatever the case, Gaudreau looks like the dominant player he has been over the last 2 seasons.
It’s crazy to think that the Flames were 4 games under .500 when Johnny Gaudreau went down and Sean Monahan was struggling to the point that there was talk of him sitting for a game. Now the Flames are tied for first in the Pacific and they’ve won 5 straight. The Flames goaltending is still the backbone of their success so far this season, but with Johnny and Mony helping right the ship, it’s now looking like Gaudreau and Monahan are the two players that warranted the contracts that made them Six Million Dollar Men.